RED BANK: VACANT SHOP TO GET FACELIFT

The long-vacant building, last home to a seafood shop, is about to get a makeover, as shown in the rendering below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering by S.O.M.E. Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank retail space that’s been vacant for decades may be on track to revival, starting with a facelift.

The borough zoning board gave unanimous approval Thursday night to a makeover plan for 203 Shrewsbury Avenue, the long-ago home of Bayshore Charlie’s seafood shop.
The building’s second floor, seen here from the Catherine Street side, will have a tiny apartment. (Rendering by S.O.M.E. Architects. Click to enlarge.)

The plan, by building owner Sandy River LLC, is a simple one, calling for a new facade; reopening some bricked-up windows on the Catherine Street side; and re-creating a 450-square-foot efficiency apartment in the building’s partial second floor. It required a handful of variances related to existing size and setback conditions.

No tenant has yet been lined up for the 1,800-square-foot retail space, said architect Mike Simpson, of S.O.M.E. Architects, adding that Sandy River principal Balvinder Gill may open a family business there.

Board member Sean Murphy said he was “not fond of” the apartment’s size, which is about half the minimum required in other zones. But Anne Torre, who moved the application for approval, called the overall plan “a big aesthetic improvement to that corner.”

Simpson told redbankgreen the apartment size wasn’t being increased because “you’d have to undo some of the structural work we’d done to the roof” in the past.

When the seafood shop closed wasn’t clear, but Gill told redbankgreen that the building had been vacant “for decades” when she bought it in 2003.

For years, before a front stoop was covered over, the building’s front stoop attracted homeless people who hung out there, Simpson said. The building was the scene of a June, 2016, fire that authorities said may have started in a rat’s nest.